Thursday, June 21, 2012

Well I still have cancer.

We met with our oncologist today to go over the test results that have been collected over the past 2 weeks (has it only been 2 weeks?!) and what our future game plan is going to look like.

He stated when we walked in that he had some good news and some bad news. The good news was that I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma and the bad news was that I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma. So this is good, because Lymphoma is very treatable but bad because it's still cancer.

Well I really didn't doubt I had cancer though I know Dan still had a little hope that they had gotten it all wrong. So we were just relieved to know it was definitely Hodgkin's Lymphoma and that I was considered Stage II-A which means I have cancer in multiple lymph nodes, but nothing below the diaphragm or in my organs and no external symptoms like night sweats or weight loss.

So that was all a review from last time. We got to see more PET scan pictures which looked horribly scary at first, and then he explained that the radioactive sugar stuff they injected me with got pumped through my heart as well as in my bladder, so just ignore those big black holes of scariness. The cancer is covering my upper body however. I meant to ask for a picture of the PET scan but I forgot, so here is an (my) artist's rendition:
Do not mock the awesomeness that is MS Paint

So that is what my PET scan looked like. We are a little worried about the sizable lymph nodes around my heart, so those will probably take radiation as well as chemotherapy to get rid of. The one in my chest has also grown 2 cm since my diagnosis in May so we will keep an eye on that one.

I will need 4 cycles of chemo which is 8 weeks long. I go in every 14 days for a round of chemo and then recover. When we are halfway through chemo we will do another PET scan to make sure the cancer is shrinking. If it is we will do the 2 more rounds of chemo and then do the RTI therapy (radiation).

I am still recovering well from my surgery, there is barely any redness or bruising anymore except for my arms where they were poking around looking for a vein. I am getting some feeling back in my neck too which is nice. It's weird to not be able to feel half your neck!

My sister and my mom sent me some nice new scarves to cover up my scar until it heals better (thank you!) and I have gotten some great texts and emails from people with some great encouragement for me. I really appreciate it! 

Next up on the docket is more IVF tests and shots and a bone marrow biopsy on July 12th. Our oncologist was very honest with me today and said that the biopsy would hurt and I would cry.  I am grateful for the honesty. I am starting to realize that in the world of medicine it never "just stings", it hurts!

On a happy note, I am getting A's in all my grad school classes. For the first time in my life I could get straight A's this semester!!


  1. I drew you a picture Julia, but it won't let me post it. So, here is the link:
    Julia, the Destroyer

  2. That is AWESOME Tyler, thank you!

  3. Hi Julia,
    I sing with your mom in Castlewood. I'm so sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis and you will certainly be in my prayers. A college classmate of mine named Jake was also diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma (stage IIB) this past Feb. He has always been an avid blogger, and obviously this turn in his life has become a major subject for him now. I know the internet generally makes it pretty easy to find resources for just about anything, but I thought I would pass on the link to his blog in case you were interested in checking it out. I know he would be happy to talk with you about any questions, fears, or concerns you might have as you move forward in your treatment if you wanted. He is also documenting every part of the process to be able to share with others like yourself who are diagnosed with it. Here is the address to his page with everything related to it.

    You will be in my prayers!

  4. Julia — So sorry to hear this. Please feel free to contact me at jakebouma[at]gmail[dot]com at any time if you have questions, concerns, fears, or what have you. Also, I noticed that you said you have "4 cycles of chemo which is 8 weeks long"... I was really confused by the whole "cycle" thing at first, but a cycle of ABVD is TWO treatments, and since they each are 2 weeks long, one cycle is four weeks. I just finished my 4th cycle, and it's been 4 months (4 cycles = 8 treatments = 16 weeks). I wish you peace.

  5. Thank you for the info Jake. We had gotten confused about the "cycles" and it is nice to know what we are in for now. 4 months seems like a long time, but it is nice to know that you have gone through this journey as well. I am looking forward to reading your blog.
    Thanks again!

  6. Julia, I have been praying for you and will continue to do so as you make this difficult journey through both cancer and fertility treatments. If you need to talk about anything fertility related, I am your girl...please don't hesitate to ask me, I would be honored to try and help you navigate through this difficult time! Hang in there, God does amazing things and in time this will all seem like a distant memory. Love ya, stay strong and keep smiling your beautiful smile! Christie Huls

  7. Thank you so much Christie!

  8. Will keep tract of you through this blog!! bevie